Solar investment strategies have seen significant changes in recent years. Land that was once inexpensive and readily available has become scarce and expensive. Suitable sites near electrical transmission lines in the southwest United States have sold for as high as $23,000 per acre, a roughly 15,000% increase* over historical values.
What Brightfields Offers
Solar investors must look for every advantage to make a project attractive in a challenging financing climate. Brightfields solar solutions have two significant cost advantages over its competitors that develop projects on green land. First, we are able to develop on contaminated land. This is very affordable given its low intrinsic value – it usually has no other competitive reuse potential. Second, dormant brownfield sites are often located in developed commercial and industrial zones. In this context, our projects generally enjoy convenient electrical infrastructure with ready and inexpensive access to distribution level interconnection points.
Managing Environmental Liability
As with any brownfield redevelopment, the question as to how we insulate a solar development from environmental risk often arises with potential project investors. The need to contain environmental risk is why we established Brightfields under common ownership with Renova Partners, one of the most experienced brownfields redevelopers in the United States. Renova is responsible for all of the environmental and geotechnical risk relating to the property used for a Brightfields solar project, and it insulates Brightfields from any exposure to the risks. With this structure, investors gain the benefit to a project's return from lower cost land in exchange for a normal, reasonable risk allocation.
Brightfields solar solutions for investors offer a compelling value proposition: You can help a socially responsible business bring clean energy to communities, make sustainable reuse of contaminated land, and enjoy the environmental liability management provided by an experienced partner. Teaming with Brightfields is the first step towards successful solar solutions.
Building Stakeholder Relationships
Through the past three decades of experience redeveloping brownfields, we have learned that a common threshold challenge involves determining the best way to a project through the local approval process. Brightfields studies a new market very carefully before devising a development strategy, and we always identify appropriate local experts to add to our development team. Once we have assembled the staff necessary to address all stages in the solar development process, we work hard to enlist the participation and support of each stakeholder, including the host community. Open and frequent communication at the beginning of a project has helped us secure the required development rights for many successful endeavors.
* The Southwest Desert's Real Estate Boom. T. Woody. Fortune, July 11, 2008.